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Some Seed Sources For Recommended Vegetables, Herbs, Fruits, and Berries

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Finding Suppliers For Cultivars

There is a select but fairly lengthy general list of seedsmen elsewhere on this site; this page is a tabulation of sources for the particular vegetable cultivars we recommend on this site. (We do not here include suppliers of live plant material--herbs, fruits, berries--at least not yet.)

(Note that if you are fortunate enough to have a local supplier--whether seed house or just neighborhood hardware store--that carries seed for any of the cultivars in question--and many are fairly common--you should support that local supplier by buying there. That also, of course, helps save on postage.)

Let us be clear here: this is very definitely not a comprehensive list of all seedsmen who carry any of our recommended cultivars. It is not even a comprehensive list of such seedsmen out of our "select list" of seedsmen (on the page linked above). Rather, it is a list of suppliers restricted to the few seedsmen that we found it optimum to order from for all of the vegetable cultivars we list and recommend. We here list them and offer a few comments on each, so you will understand how we came to select these few, and why we think ordering from them is your best bet.

(This listing is for seed only: it does not include herb, berry, or fruit plants; we hope to add those soon.)

Also note that these lists do not include suppliers of things we ourselves are not going to be putting in this season--such as artichokes or cardoon or rhubard--because we haven't put in the time to locate suppliers for those.


Fedco

You can get the complete Fedco story straight from the horse's mouth, but the highlights are these. First, Fedco is a cooperative, not a business in the ordinary sense, and, as they say, therefore "profit is not our primary goal." Second, and deriving from the first, is that their prices are very low by comparison with virtually every other supplier; while a dollar here or there may not sound like much, when you add up a complete order for a substantial vegetable garden, the difference is strikingly non-trivial. Third, and again derived from first, Fedco is punctilious about what kinds and quality of seeds they carry; they are not averse to carrying hybrids, but everything is plainly labelled and there is a definite preference for open-pollinated and even organically grown seed (they often make both standard and OG available for a given cultivar, the OG being only slightly more expensive). Fourth, and especially helpful to us, they are, as they say, "your source for cold-hardy selections especially adapted to our demanding Northeast climate." [emphasis in original]

So what's not to like? Unless you live in the deep south--and perhaps even then--Fedco should be your first choice for any vegetable type they carry; with us, it's to the point that we will even consider changing our choice of a cultivar if Fedco doesn't have it but does have a more or less fungible type that they recommend. We can scarcely say how important and wonderful it is to find a major seedsman whose recommendations you can trust to be meaningful and valid.


Seed Savers Exchange

It is hard to over-state the importance of the work that this non-profit organization is doing toward preserving our heritage of edible foodstuffs types. SSE is an organization, but it is also a huge society of dedicated member seed growers and preservers who make a plethora of often rare and unusual vegetable (and herb and fruit) varieties available to one another through the annual SSE Yearbook. You can read more about this wonderful organization direct from them, though their modest little statement doesn't begin to really emphasize their importance.

The retail operation that we link to above is a sort of sideline of the SSE farm, whose proceeds help support SSE and its work. Their prices are not low, but are typical of what commercial seed houses charge, and when buying from them you not only know you're getting good seed of varieties selected with care, but that you're helping support an excellent and important project.

We recommend that all serious--and, we suppose, even casual--vegetable gardeners become members. (But you do not need to be a member to buy from the retail site linked above.) Membership information is available on line at their site. (There is also a related but separate Flower and Herb Exchange.)


Bountiful Gardens

This is another important non-profit organization. Bountiful Gardens is a division of Ecology Action, an organization founded by John Jeavons, whose vegetable-gardening guidebook we heartily recommend; its general mission is food-crop research and perhaps above all teaching--EA "teaches people in 130 countries around the world to grow food and build soil with less work, water, and energy by natural methods." You can read more about Bountiful Gardens and Ecology Action direct from their site.

BG's prices are reasonable and their selections, especially of some now-rare cultivars, often unique. They are a good place to buy from, for many reasons.


Turtle Tree Seeds

While Turtle Tree is nominally a commercial supplier, they are dedicated seed preservers who work closely with larger suppliers and with universities (notably Cornell) to conserve and develop open-pollinated seed for important edible crops. Quoting from a Cornell datasheet for a conference held at Turtle Tree, "The company is located in Copake, NY (approximately 100 miles north of NYC) within the Camphill Village community. The community supports approximately 230 individuals, including many developmentally disabled adults who contribute to the community through farming, gardening, and producing crafts."

We did not select Turtle Tree (or any supplier here) because they are "good guys"--that was a pleasant extra. We selected them because for some wanted cultivars, they were one of few sources--or, in some cases--the only source--to be found. But it's nice to know that ordering from them is a feel-good experience.


Irish Eyes/Garden City

This is really, in effect, two companies in one: "Irish Eyes", a potato supplier (cute name, hm?), and Garden City Seed, a seedsman. "Irish Eyes" has a heritage that runs back to the original (and famous) Roninger's. The site has a great deal of information on growing (and using) potatoes, as well as a large variety of seed potatoes, and also garlics.

They are a nice place to shop, but of especial importance to us, and those similarly situated (in the literal sense), they are in our exact climate region, being just a couple of hours' drive to the west of us, in the "Inland Empire" portion of eastern Washington State. That means that their cultivar selections, and their actual seed, will be particularly well-suited for use in our--and likely your--garden.


Johnny's Select Seeds

Johnny's is a large commercial operation based in Maine. In recent years, their catalogue has moved heavily to hybrids, but they remain the sole source for a good number of useful and wanted cultivars, notably in the lettuces department (they have pretty well moved into the role of lettuce specialist that fell open when The Cook's Garden was sold by its founders).

Johnny's prices are far from low, but they have an excellent reputation for seed quality, as well as customer service, and their catalogue is chock-full of legitimately practical and helpful growing advice, advice that is far more exact than the usual glib nonsense one finds in most seedsmen's catalogues


Tomato Growers Supply Company

This is another wholly commercial operation that tilts heavily toward hybrids, but there's no escaping the fact that they are an excellent central source of high repute for an awful lot of tomato (and pepper and eggplant) cultivars, including some hard-to-find heirloom types. As a one-stop-shopping resource in their niche, they're very handy.


Others

For this year, at any rate, the houses shown above suffice, between them, to supply all the cultivars we recommend. But our opinions change from time to time as newer varieties come available, or as new information or trials come to light, so it behooves us to keep in mind some other fine suppliers, seedsmen to whom we would willingly turn did we need something only they had. For such lists, check our page on Vegetable-Seed & Fruit/Berry Sellers On The Web.



Seed Sources By Vegetable/Cultivar

A "reverse list"--by seed house that is--follows this table.


Asparagus:
   Jersey GiantJersey Asparagus Farms
Beans:
   Beans, pole:
   Sieva, limaSeed Savers Exchange
   Fortex, "filet"Turtle Tree
   Kentucky Wonder, shellieFedco
   Kwintus (Early Riser), romanoTurtle Tree
   Painted Lady, runnerBountiful Gardens
   Scarlet Emperor, runnerFedco
   Gita, "yard-long"Johnny's
   Beans, bush:
   Black Coco, shellieFedco
   Black Kabuli, garbanzoFedco
   Cannellini, shellieFedco
   Jacob's Cattle, shellieFedco
   Indian Woman Yellow, shellieIrish Eyes/Garden City
   Windsor, favaFedco
   Thorogreen, limaBountiful Gardens
   Envy, soy (edamame)Bountiful Gardens
Beet:
   LutzTurtle Tree
Broccoli:
   DeCicco, sproutingIrish Eyes/Garden City
   Piracicaba, sproutingFedco
   Green Goliath, maincropIrish Eyes/Garden City
Cabbage:
   Green:
   GreyhoundBountiful Gardens
   Red:
   Red ExpressIrish Eyes/Garden City
Carrots:
   Scarlet NantesFedco
   Tonda da PirigiFedco
Celeriac:
   DiamanteFedco
Chard:
   Bright LightsFedco
Corn:
   Spring TreatFedco
Cucumbers:
   Poona Kheera, roundFedco
   Super Zagross, beit alphaFedco
Eggplants:
   Ping Tung Long, OrientalTurtle Tree
   Rosita, standardFedco
Finocchio/Fennel:
   Zefa FinoFedco
Greens:
   cress: Wrinkled, CrinkledFedco
   corn salad: Large-LeafFedco
   corn salad: Verte de LambraiFedco
   Miners LettuceFedco
   MinutinaFedco
Herbs:
   basil: Genovese, flat-leafFedco
   chervil: Brussels Winter VertissimoJohnny's
   dill: Fernleaf, weedFedco
   Garlic ChivesFedco
   Salad BurnetFedco
   Shiso, green Johnny's
   summer savory: AromataJohnny's
Kohlrabi:
   GiganteFedco
Leeks:
   Bleu de SolaizeFedco
   King RichardFedco
Lettuces:
   Batavian:
   Nevada, greenJohnny's
   Magenta, redJohnny's
   Butterhead:
   Ben Shemen, greenBountiful Gardens
   Fireball, redJohnny's
   Looseleaf:
   Tropicana, greenJohnny's
   Red Sails, redFedco
   Romaine/Cos:
   Jericho, greenTurtle Tree
   Cimmaron, redIrish Eyes/Garden City
   Heading:
   SummertimeFedco
Melons:
   Early HanoverSeed Savers Exchange
   Jenny LindFedco
   Minnesota MidgetSeed Savers Exchange
   Noir des CarmesSeed Savers Exchange
   Petit Gris de RennesSeed Savers Exchange
Okra:
   Cajun JewelFedco
Onions:
   Australian Brown, yellow/brownSeed Savers Exchange
   Clear Dawn, yellow/brownFedco
Parsley:
   Gigante d'Italia, flat-leafFedco
Parsley Root:
   HamburgFedco
Peas:
   Lincoln, shellFedco
   Sugarsnap, snapFedco
Peppers, Sweet:
   Bell:
   Golden Cal Wonder, yellowTomato Grower's Supply
   Peacework, redFedco
   Sunrise Orange, orangeIrish Eyes/Garden City
   Frying:
   Corno di Toro YellowTomato Grower's Supply
   Italian FryingIrish Eyes/Garden City
   Jimmy Nardello'sFedco
   Other:
   AnaheimFedco
   Giant AnaconguaTomato Grower's Supply
Radish:
   Hailstone, whiteFedco
Scallions:
   Evergreen White HardyFedco
Scorzonera:
   Noir de RussieFedco
Sorrel:
   Broad-Leaved (acetosaFedco
Spinach:
   ButterflayTurtle Tree
Brussels Sprouts:
   RoodnerfFedco
Squash, Summer:
   Benning's Green Tint, pattypanFedco
Tomatoes:
   Maincrop:
   Aker's West Virginia, redTomato Grower's Supply
   Matina, red, earlyTomato Grower's Supply
   Kellogg's Breakfast, yellowSeed Savers Exchange
   Plum:
   OpalkaSeed Savers Exchange
   Cherry:
   Wow, redFedco



Available Vegetables/Cultivars By Seed House

A "straight list"--by vegetable/cultivar that is--precedes this table.


Fedco
bean, bushBlack Coco
bean, bushBlack Kabuli
bean, bushCannellini
bean, bushJacob's Cattle
bean, favaWindsor
bean, poleKentucky Wonder
bean, runnerScarlet Emperor
broccoliPiracicaba
carrotScarlet Nantes
carrotTonda da Pirigi
celeriacDiamante
chard, SwissBright Lights
cornSpring Treat
cucumberPoona Kheera
cucumberSuper Zagross
eggplantRosita
fennel, FlorenceZefa Fino
green: corn saladLarge-Leaf Round
green: corn saladVerte de Cambrai
green: cressWrinkled, Crinkled
green: miners lettuce (claytonia)Miners Lettuce
green: minutinaMinutina
herb, basilGenovese
herb, dill. weedFernleaf
herbGarlic Chives
herbSalad Burnet
kohlrabiGigante
leekBleu de Solaize
leekKing Richard
lettuce, headingSummertime
lettuce, looseleaf, redRed Sails
melonJenny Lind
okraCajun Jewel
onionClear Dawn
parsley, rootHamburg
parsleyGigante d'Italia
pea, snapSugarsnap
peaLincoln
pepper, bellPeacework
pepper, frying,Jimmy Nardello's
pepper, sweetAnaheim
radishHailstone
scallionsEvergreen White Hardy
scorzoneraNoir de Russie
sorrelBroad-Leaved
sprouts, BrusselsRoodnerf
squash, pattypanBenning's Green Tint
tomato, cherryWow
Irish Eyes / Garden City
bean, dryIndian Woman Yellow
broccoliDeCicco
broccoliGreen Goliath
cabbageRed Express
lettuce, romaine, redCimmaron
pepper, fryingItalian Frying
pepper, sweetSunrise Orange Bell
Seed Savers Exchange
bean, limaSieva
melonNoir des Carmes
melonMinnesota Midget
melonPetit Gris de Rennes
melonEarly Hanover
onionAustralian Brown
tomatoKellogg's Breakfast
tomatoOpalka
Bountiful Gardens
bean, limaThorogreen
bean, runnerPainted Lady
bean, soyEnvy
cabbage, greenGreyhound
lettuce, butterhead, greenBen Shemen
Turtle Tree
bean, poleKwintus (Early Riser)
bean, poleFortex
beetLutz
eggplantPing Tung Long
lettuce, romaine, greenJericho
spinachButterflay
Tomato Grower's Supply
pepper, bell, goldGolden Cal Wonder
pepper, fryingCorno di Toro Yellow
pepper, sweetGiant Anacongua
tomato, beefstakeAker's West Virginia
tomato, earlymatina
Johnny's
bean, yard-longGita
herb: chervilBrussels Winter, Vertissimo
herb: shisoShiso, green
herb: summer savorySummer Savory, Aromata
lettuce, Batavian, greenNevada
lettuce, Batavian, redMagenta
lettuce, looseleaf, greenTropicana
lettuce, butterhead, redFireball
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